John, What’s the Big Deal…

John, What’s the Big Deal…

From time to time I receive e-mails from people who have never tried my methods and don’t have a clue as to what they are talking about. Yesterday a guy e-mailed me and asked, “John, what’s the big deal about Atlas Sit-ups? You make it sound like they are the answer to everyone’s back pain. If that’s true, why does my personal trainer say that in all the exercise books he has ever read, they warn you not to do sit-ups with your knees straight?”

First, be careful whom you listen to for advice on physical culture. Most of the books from the “experts” teach heavy weight training that compresses the lower spine, diminishes spinal flexibility, and is the cause of lower back pain in the long term. My exercises do the exact opposite. They decompress the joints of the entire body. Here’s proof? Look at the photos.

In the Atlas Sit-up, I am touching my chin to my knees. No big deal, right? WRONG! I don’t care how old or young you are, if you can perform 100 consecutive Atlas Sit-ups, touching either your forehead or chin to your knees, you will have a lithe, perfectly muscled waistline that is completely fat free as well as a pain-free lower back! No ands, ifs, or buts about it. It would literally be impossible to touch your forehead or chin to your knees if you had a big potbelly. That’s why even out-of-shape beginners who have big bellies and gradually work up to full range Atlas Sit-ups see inches melt quickly from their waistline, because as the demand is placed on the body, the body responds.

I personally often perform multiple sets of 100 Atlas Sit-ups every day, touching my chin to my knees on each rep, and at soon to be age 57, I have a ripped 29" waistline (exactly as I had when I was 17 years old) and a young, supple spine that is completely pain free. Not only that, but this is the exercise that I advise for every “Busted-Up Weightlifter” or overweight person with a compressed lower spine.

Keep your knees as straight as possible, with nothing holding your feet down except muscular tension from your lower abs, and curl your body forward one vertebra at a time, going only as far forward as possible. After several weeks or months, as you extend your range of motion until you can finally touch your forehead to your knees (or come close to it), you will have elongated, stretched, and decompressed your lower spine. It will literally undo the damage caused by heavy squatting or heavy over–the-head lifting. In fact, this one exercise combined with hanging from an overhead bar or, better yet, combined with pull-ups and chin-ups (if you are very strong) will help you to decompress your lower spine in world-record time. Just take it slow and allow your strength, flexibility, and muscular endurance to naturally increase. Over time, you will be awed by how good your back feels as your waistline takes on a lithe, sculpted appearance.

You can find my ab-sculpting secrets in my books Pushing Yourself to Power, Miracle Seven, or G.U.T.S. The 24/7 Power Workout, which goes on sale Thursday, October 1.

—John Peterson

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